You can listen to me chatting with the fabulous #TechComm influencer and podcaster, Ed Marsh, on his Content Content Podcast from June 25, 2019. We had a whole lot of fun and Ed is a great interviewer.
Viqui Dill, Senior Technical Writer at American Woodmark in Virginia, talks to Ed Marsh how everyone is a project manager in some form, life in the (literal) hardware industry, her day of 500 hugs, what is just-in-time documentation, and more.
Viqui is also an accomplished “bad-ass bass player’ and a self-proclaimed techcomm evangelist.
Mentioned during this episode:
- Gully Washer
- American Woodmark
- 2020 design software
- STC Instructional Design and Learning (IDL) Special Interest Group (SIG)
- STC DC Metro chapter
- STC Philadelphia CONDUIT conference
- Viqui on Twitter
- Viqui on SlideShare
- Power of Story
- Dr Heidi Lawrence
- 501(c)(3) corporation
- STC George Mason University chapter
- Ed’s presentation for the STC IDL SIG – Driving your Docs with Data
I wrote this post for InSync Training’s blog. It posted July 25th. Woo hoo! Check out the great stuff they have to offer.
Some folks talk about training as “coaching”. I think they have the metaphor wrong. Coaching means developing skills within a team by repetitive drilling and motivating them using a combination of respect and fear. Real training is nothing like that. Real training is more like cheerleading than coaching.
Engage the players (students)
So I’m standing in a conference room with my trusty slide deck and handouts, looking out at the other folks in the room for my training. My position looks like it’s up front but really I’m on the sidelines. The real action will be with those students.
The students are the real players, the real action in the game. The students are going to make or break the training. If they’re tired or bored, they won’t engage and they won’t learn. We don’t have a lot of time here and this training session is costing the company a boatload. When you count up all the hours of preparation, then the total hours for all the bodies here in the room, then measure the slow climb up the learning curve for the students, you know there’s a lot riding on this training. These students are going to make the difference in whether the investment will pay off. I know I’ve got to engage them in the short time we have together.
So we start off with an icebreaker, the part of the game when the team leaves the field house and comes running on to the field. And I’m cheering like crazy, trying to call the players by name and praising their ability to answer the icebreaker quiz questions. It’s exhausting but it pays off bigly if the students are energized and engaged by the interaction.
Then we start training the content. My favorite training sessions are the ones where we all work together, ditching the PowerPoint slides for real hands-on learning. First I give a short demo, then the real players do their magic. I shout “Hit ’em again, hit ’em again! Harder! Harder!” and they do. If I’ve done my job, the process is easy once you know how. The students pick up the skill and the underlying technology or the system it runs on. They carry the ball down the field. “This isn’t so hard. I can do this on my own next time.”
The last part of the session will tell how well we’ve done. We review what we learned, review expectations and collect feedback from the training. If things went well, the feedback will be upbeat and energizing. If things didn’t go well, the team will wander back to the locker room and leave the champagne corked for another time. Negative feedback is sometimes tough to hear but it does let us know how to make the next session better.
But let’s go back to what happens when we win. At the end of the
winning game successful training, the players leave the room feeling like winners. They have learned some new skills and have confidence they can do it on their own, and maybe even show the new skills to their coworkers.
Engage the crowd (user community)
Another function of cheerleaders is to engage the crowd and get them cheering. In the training world, this means inspiring the user community so that they will see the trainees as rising system experts. The more that the user community recognizes local system experts, the less work for you as the trainer. Everyone prefers asking a coworker for help over having to search for an answer in the online help or opening a customer support ticket. If you can get the user community to see each other as the system experts, you will have fewer questions to answer and fewer customer support calls to take. It’s a win for the home team and a big win for you.
When the cheering stops
After the game, when the team and spectators have gone home, we celebrate the win or mourn the loss. If we’ve done a good job, the whole organization benefits. The students go back to work confidently using the system to accomplish their goals. Their goals are not to be a great system user. Their goals are to be a great doctor, lawyer, or indian chief who happens to use the system. They become great clients, providers, and colleagues. They make the world a better place, thanks to you and your effective training.
Let’s cheer about that!
This is one in a series posted in the STC Notebook blog of sketch notes taken at the 2017 Summit by STC Senior Member Elizabeth Alley. I am super tickled that Elizabeth included my session in her sketches and I’m even more delighted that it was posted in the Notebook. It could have a lot to do with the fact that I’m sharing the slot with #TechComm legend, Leah Guren.
Relive the magic of the Summit in a unique and dynamic way through Elizabeth’s sketches! You can see more of Elizabeth’s work at elizabethalley.com.
You can see more about this presentation and review the slides in this post.
Here’s that amazing sketch:
Here’s me adulting at #STC17.
I had a blast, mostly because the attendees to my spotlight talk were so smart and engaging. I talked about a pretty dry subject, meeting management, and how to make your meetings go better by collecting expectations and gathering feedback. Thanks everyone for being such a great crowd.
Here are my slides.
Yeah, we all know meetings are a necessary evil. Managing them better can build a stronger team that gets more done in less time.
The objective of a good training program is adoption and excellent field execution. This presentation is about how to use a combination of traditional training deliverables and old school psychology to gain user buy-in and achieve a successful launch. We’ll talk about how my company uses cartoons and countdowns to ensure that users seek out training and have a stake in adoption and field execution excellence.
Whether we create video, user assistance, classroom training, or documentation, what we really want is a group of folks who use the product to do an excellent job with little or no effort and make no mistakes. Creating good training is less about the deliverable and more about building the right relationship.
Here are the slides from my presentation for #STC16 about a project that went really well.
Many thanks to Rachel Houghton for catching a photo of me #adulting.
Read the event review of our latest adventure with STC at George Mason University. Many thanks to Greta Boller for the kind words.
See the election results in the STC Notebook post.
Many thanks to the STC Nominating Committee for organizing such an exciting election. Many more thanks to all the candidates and supporters. And special thanks to those of you who voted.
Thanks to you all, 2015-2016 is going to be a great year for #TechComm.
Connect with me in a variety of formats online. I’d love to hear from you.
Linked In http://www.linkedin.com/pub/viqui-dill
I’d appreciate your support in the election. But more importantly, I want you to say “Yes” to STC. We need you.
Read all the posts, beginning January 5th and posting every other day, in my blog at https://viquidill.wordpress.com/
See all the slides on my slideshare account, http://www.slideshare.net/viqui_dill